Gülenists wanted to break Turkey-Russia ties: Erdoğan
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, on Aug 9. AA photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the followers of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher who is blamed for organizing the bloody July 15 coup attempt, had also aimed at breaking the Ankara-Moscow relations.
“The heinous attack on July 15 has been returned by our nation. It is clearly understood that FETÖ has aimed at the relation between our countries,” Erdoğan said while speaking at a Russian-Turkish business representatives meeting in St Petersburg on Aug. 9 on the sidelines of the historic meetings between the leaders to put an end to a row and normalize ties.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency that the pilot who downed the Russian jet was detained in connection with ongoing probes against the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), not for firing on the jet.
Turkish and Russian relations were frozen, with Moscow imposing harsh sanctions on Ankara after a Turkish jet downed a Russian fighter jet in November last year for violating the Turkish air space.
A letter by Erdoğan to Putin in June was a milestone for mending the ties and on Aug. 9, both parties pledged to put everything back on track.
After the coup attempt on July 15, the Turkish pilot who downed the Russian jet was arrested as part of the probe into the plotters, according to an AFP report.